Effect of nutritional deprivation on diaphragm contractility and muscle fiber size

M. I. Lewis, G. C. Sieck, M. Fournier, M. J. Belman

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94 Scopus citations


The influence of nutritional deprivation on the contractile and fatigue properties of the diaphragm was studied in adult rats. Food access was restricted to one-third of normal daily intake until the body weight of nutritionally deprived (ND) animals was ~50% of controls (CTL). Isometric contractile properties were studied in an in vitro nerve muscle strip preparation. Both twitch (P(t)) and tetanic (P(o)) tensions of diaphragms from the ND animals were markedly reduced compared with CTL; however, P(t)/P(o) was higher for the ND group. The shape of the force-frequency curve (normalized to P(o)) was generally similar between the two groups, except at 5 and 10 pulses/s stimulation, where greater relative tensions were produced in diaphragms from the ND animals. Diaphragm fatigue was induced by repetitive stimulation at either 20 or 100 pulses/s. Endurance time (defined as the time required for tension to fall to 50% of initial) of diaphragms from ND animals was prolonged at both 20 and 100 pulses/s. Immediately after induction of fatigue, force-frequency curves for both ND and CTL diaphragms were shifted to the right. However, this rightward shift was attenuated in the ND group compared with CTL. Nutritional deprivation had no effect on the proportions of different fiber types within the diaphragm but did result in a significant decrease in the cross-sectional area of both fast- and slow-twitch fibers. This decrease in cross-sectional area was significantly greater for fast-twitch fibers. We conclude that these changes in diaphragm contractile and fatigue properties occur as a result of the influence of malnutrition on muscle fiber cross-sectional area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-603
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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